Three states have made the cut to the final round inAG’s hunt for a U.S. site for a new vehicle-assembly plant.
Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby says the shortlist includes Alabama, Tennessee and Michigan.
“Our evaluation of a potential U.S. production facility continues, and we must focus more narrowly on just those few states that best meet our particular needs,” Jacoby says in a statement.
VW expects to make its final decision this summer.
The site list contains a couple of surprises, namely the absence of rumored frontrunner North Carolina and inclusion of long-shot candidate Michigan.
VWA’s headquarters move from Michigan to Herndon, VA, was seen as a possible prelude to a new plant in the region, seemingly signaling an advantage for states such as North Carolina.
If VW does choose union-stronghold Michigan, it will be the second time it has planned assembly capacity in the state.
LLC’s Sterling Heights, MI, facility started life as a jet-engine factory but was converted into an automobile plant by VW in 1980. It never built a single car and was sold to the Detroit auto maker in 1983 following a downturn in VW’s U.S. sales. VW subsequently also closed its sole remaining U.S. assembly plant in Westmoreland, PA.
The German auto maker is eying U.S. capacity as a way to counter the effects of the weak dollar and to help it grow its share of the North American market.
It is unclear which vehicles VW would assemble at the new facility.
Jacoby said at the Detroit auto show earlier this year the plant would have to build a model good for 100,000- to 120,000-unit sales annually in the U.S.
“We would need to build volume models here,” he said.
VW’s next-generation Routan – an upcoming new minivan that will be produced byin Windsor, ON, Canada – is considered one possible candidate.
Jacoby said in January powertrain manufacturing also would be part of any new capacity in the U.S.
Audi AG is looking at a U.S. production base, as well, and has said it could share capacity with VW.